I ask this question following listening intently to Karl Keatings’ debate with a Baptist Preacher on youtube (another thread pointed me to this). By the way, I admire Mr. Keatings courage allowing himself to debate a powerful debater and obvioulsy quite intelligent, well read man on the man’s home turf in front of an almost hostile crowd of clearly anti-Catholic protestants. Mr Keating, IMO, clearly put forth the more convincing arguments. However I was left with this difficulty that I hope the good people of Catholic Answer Forums might cast some light on.
Summarized, the issue is this: The preacher read some powerful statements from (I believe) the Council of Trent. I will use just a couple of examples (not necassarily the examples used by the preacher) to illustrate my point:
CANON XXVII.-If any one saith, that there is no mortal sin but that of infidelity; or, that grace once received is not lost by any other sin, however grievous and enormous, save by that of infidelity ; let him be anathema.
CANON XXIII.-lf any one saith, that a man once justified can sin no more, nor lose grace, and that therefore he that falls and sins was never truly justified; or, on the other hand, that he is able, during his whole life, to avoid all sins, even those that are venial,-except by a special privilege from God, as the Church holds in regard of the Blessed Virgin; let him be anathema.
Please, my question is not in these two statements, my question is the general use of the word anathema by the Council.
Mr Keating stated (paraphrased) that the word anathema does not mean the condemnation to hell but means excommunication. He further stated that these statements only apply to Catholics and not to those outside the church because those outside the church cannot be guilty of heresy.
I wanted to trust this statement by Mr. Keating so I googled the web definition of “anathema”
Definition: Something which is “anathema” is something which is polluted or accursed. Paul used this term to refer to someone who has been completely rejected by God
Further I retrieved the web definition of accursed:
Definition: According to Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, to be accursed is to be “ruined or doomed to utter destruction.”
This seems to compromise Mr. Keatings’ point. Since we believe “Completely rejected by God” to mean putting one’s soul in a great deal of jeopardy (we never make the claim anyone is in hell, this was also stated by Mr. Keating).
It would appear to me that the council did indeed mean that we consider the state of one in anathema (for all the reasons stated in the council) to be in a perilous state indeed, based on the two above definitions of anathema and accursed.
Did Mr. Keating underestimate the intentions of the statements of the council? I trust not, that is why I am hoping for clearification.